Arts Commons Presents
The +15 Galleries
Almas de la Tierra / Souls of the Land
Artists: Ana Betancourt, Anavi, Ariadna Sly, Avril Lopez, Carolina Duran, Cecilia Barboza, Claudia Chagoya, Felipe Jasso, Fredy Rivas, Jessica Armas Noda, Josefina Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Guzmán, Juan Cofre, Lovelia Vera, Lily Sigie, Así es Colombia, Maya Corona, Milena Vásquez, Paloma Negra, Rocio Graham, Viviana Pacheco, Yuli Carvajal, Wilmer Aburto
Location: The +15 Galleries
OUR STORY - SpanicArts: Hispanic Association of Professional Artists
A world where artists from all backgrounds, inspired by the Hispanic Culture, are able to engage in the art community, exhibit their artwork and gain recognition by the communities at large. SpanicArts is an organization that gives support, creates connections, facilitates resources and provides a platform to Hispanic artists or artists that are inspired by the Hispanic culture, to express their creativity with passion and contribute to the artistic growth of the city and their own communities.
This exhibition explores cowfolk culture in America. Specifically, the similar archetype that is present in Latin-American countries, as well as in Canada and the United States. The traditional figure of the cowboy appears as a folk hero or a glamorized role model portrayed in books, movies and television, and each country has its own: “Llaneros” from Venezuela and Colombia, “Charros” in Mexico, the Argentinian “Gauchos”, Bolivian “Morochucos” and “Vaqueros”, “Cabalgadores” from Salvador, and “Huasos” from Chile, to mention a few. Through Almas de la Tierra/Souls of the Land, the SpanicArts’ artists address the commonalities and differences of these characters that represent an important part of our cultures. Referencing the diverse garments, behaviours, music, and traditions revolving around these figures. The depictions of the Latin Cowfolk presented in this exhibition celebrate tradition, while others question the male dominated archetype. But above all we acknowledge the rich and colourful cultural background of Latin-America.
Ana Betancourt was born in Venezuela and moved to Alberta, Canada in 2007. She combined her interest for the themes of personal growth and spirituality with her passion for painting, to become an intuitive and mixed media artist, who uses art as a portal between the soul and the subconscious, to reactivate the connection with ourselves beyond the physical existence. Through the mixture of symbols, colours, media and textures, Ana shows us a magical world, which inspires the openness of the mind to unlimited possibilities, self- knowledge and reflection.
Anavi is a Venezuelan artist residing in Calgary, Alberta. Her practices focus are animation, illustration and design. She studied Arts & Graphic design in Valencia, Venezuela and is currently producing her first animated film "PACO" with the support of Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship and Production Residency at QuickDraw Animation Society.
Ariadna Sly was born in Argentina. She studied Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires, where she graduated as an Architect in 1995. She studied Arts at the University of Cuyo while working as Architecture professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the same university. She continued her studies in drawing and oil painting, in Corriente Alterna, Arts school in Lima, Peru. In last several years she has devoted herself entirely to oil painting and watercolour. Where her passion for animals, nature and abstraction is clearly shown.
Avril Lopez is a visual artist from Morelia, Mexico. She moved to Canada to complete her MFA program at the University of Calgary, Department of Art in 2018. Lopez has participated in several group shows in Mexico City, including “Los Ojos de la Crueldad” (Eyes of Cruelty) at the San Carlos Museum and a group show and catalogue “El Futuro No Esta Escrito” (The Future Is Not Written) part of the “Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche ” (Benetton Research Studies Foundation) Venice, Italy. Since moving to Canada, Lopez has exhibited her work in artist-run centres and galleries in different areas of Alberta and Ontario.
Carolina Duran was born in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. From an early age she demonstrated an innate artistic talent. During her teen years she began painting in the workshops of the great artists of her hometown. She studied textile painting, drawing, and acrylic and oil painting. In 2010 she moved to Calgary where she currently resides. She uses acrylic painting in a daring colour palette, she employs classic lines and thick strokes of paint to create abstract and contemporary art. The combination of her sensitivity with her technique allows her to transcend the ordinary, her paintings now provide colour and character in homes from Argentina to Canada.
Born in Caracas, Cecilia Barboza started exploring visual arts since she was a young adult. She studied painting and sculpture at the same time she was pursuing her career in architecture. Her passion for the ancient art and architecture, takes her to study a master’s degree in Heritage Conservation. In 2009, she studied mosaic art in Montreal. Self-identified as Venezuelan-Canadian, she enjoys portraying everyday life with vivid and cheerful colours.
Claudia Chagoya is an interdisciplinary artist born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and based in Calgary, Canada. She holds an MFA degree from the University of Calgary, and a BFA from Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her artistic practice explores topics related to gender violence and her socio-political background, through the use of materials rooted in Mexican culture tied to various rituals such as: rebozos, salt, copal and sawdust. Chagoya is currently the president of SpanicArts, a Calgary non-profit organization that gives support, creates connections, and facilitates resources for Hispanic artists or people interested in Hispanic culture.
Felipe Jasso is a Mexican Canadian photographer graduated from The Alberta University of the Arts. His works are influenced by the magical realism found in Latin literature, surrealism and symbolism. He investigates the subconscious, memory and his inner desires. Using symbolism and complex tableaux, Jasso brings to the forefront fragments of his experiences as an immigrant, a queer artist, and his negotiations with the Canadian landscape. He expresses that he finds himself trapped in the images that he makes, between the colourful Mexican culture and the restrained and frigid Canadian scenes. His work shows his preoccupations with his experiences of displacement, isolation and his inner yearnings.
Fredy Rivas is a multidisciplinary artist from Colombia who lives and works in Calgary. He finished his studies at the District University in Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Architecture Design. While he was residing in Montreal, he was the recipient of the Quebec Government Program Integration of Art (2013). Through which he installed a permanent public artwork titled Étendue de Rêves. Fredy has also received grants from Calgary Arts Development on 2019 and 2020 to develop his ongoing project “Highway II”. He is also the winner of the 2020 Elephant Artist Relief Award. His work has been exhibited in diverse exhibitions in Quebec and Alberta, and he has collaborated in ten permanent public art pieces.
Jessica Armas Noda is a passionate artist and teacher originally from Cuba, now living in Canada. She has been interested in art and creations her entire life; sometimes she was too hard with herself being under a misconception that art was a special gift that only some people were born with. She started her new artist career and decided to do what she always wanted, express her creativity and feelings through the canvas. A private collector closed to her mentioned: “The colours on your paintings, reflect the colours of your soul”. She wants to inspire and bring joy to the world.
Josefina Rodriguez is an Argentinian emerging artist living in Calgary, Alberta, Treaty 7 Territory since 2012. She is a figurative artist, working primarily in ceramic sculpture and drawing. She is a 2021 Ceramics Major graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited at the Marion Nicoll Gallery and recently featured in the Esker Foundation’s “In Common” Series. Josefina is committed to the support and inclusion of BIPOC artists in the Calgary community and is currently a Board Member of SpanicArts.
Juan Carlos Guzmán was born in Central America, in El Salvador, and is currently based in Calgary. He carried out his studies at the National University pursuing his degree in Plastic Arts. He was also professor of arts at Lamatepec College and of creativity at Don Bosco El Salvador University.
Juan Cofre is a Chilean filmmaker and photographer living in Calgary since 2017. Most of his work has been related to the creation of documentary films and street photography projects. Juan is always looking into the real world, and his work is a reflection of real situations and how these images are a representation of us as a society.
Lovelia Vera is an experienced and creative Canadian-Venezuelan artist who specializes in original interpretations using various artistic mediums, oil, acrylic, pastel. It is her belief that the sensation of freedom is achievable in every style and subject. She strives to convey that emotion in every canvas from the moment she starts creating. Lovelia is capable of creating something very abstract or shockingly realistic. Either path she takes, leads her to ultimate success and enjoyment. Lovelia’s artworks have been proudly displayed in various art exhibitions around the world and in private collections . In addition, her artwork has been included in various publications.
Lily Sigie is from Mexico and lived more than 20 years in Queretaro City. At the age of 18 she went to London UK where she lived for three years and where she could get some performing experience. Lily is an actress with more than 15 years working for different Theatre Companies in her city. Master in Cultural Development with six-years-experience as an Artistic Program Manager and with one publication: “Development of Soft Skills through Arts”. She came to Calgary in 2017, since then she has been doing different workshops, volunteers, and art projects. RAFT & RAMP Alumni (2018), SpanicArts Co-Founder and Vice President.
Así es Colombia is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote, explore and preserve the culture and wealth of Colombian folklore in Canada. This cultural association was created in October 2000, by people inspired to promote understanding of the Colombian culture and folklore. Colombia has a rich ethnic mix displayed in all artistic expressions; its diverse cultural roots of Aboriginal, Hispanic, and African traditions originated interesting fusions of music, dance, sculpture, and art. Asi es Colombia represents the unique style of every region of Colombia and the life and traditions of its hardworking people.
Maya Corona is a mom, wife, artpreneur, designer, and unshakable optimist. Originally from Mexico City, she moved to Canada almost 14 years ago, and now she calls Calgary home. With more than 15 years of graphic design experience, stepping back from that world in 2019 to pursue art; she loves vibrant, bold colours. Some calming, muted palette can make Maya's world, too. Maya loves creating watercolour and acrylic paintings, from loose florals to vibrant, colourful animal portraits and exciting people. Maya has shown her work in local exhibitions, runs her art studio, and has been teaching watercolours for three years.
Milena Vásquez is an artistic photographer and graphic designer based in Moh’kins’tsis - Calgary. She practices the art of photography and sketching as means of meditation and therapy. For over 4 years Milena has been organizing and connecting artists around Calgary, events that led her to join as a founder and active board member of SpanicArts, a non-profit organization that supports Hispanic artists living in Calgary. This self-taught photographer relies on intuition, instinct and her background in graphic and interior design to create enticing and engaging photographs and illustrations that capture light in surprising ways.
Paloma Negra is a Mexican songwriter, composer, and singer based in Calgary since 2018. She started her career at 13 years old, and since then she has participated in several dance and music groups. Such as: “Cazadores”, “La Química”, “Milady” and “Proyecto R”. She found her passion on traditional Mariachi music, which led her to participate in the group “Alma Mexicana” formed only by women. She has currently written more than 100 songs. In 2020 and 2021, she released 7 singles from her album “Ventana del Alma” and 5 original music videos on her networks.
Rocio Graham is a Mexican/Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in Mohkinstsis/ Calgary. Her work is influenced by her cultural heritage, personal experience with trauma and reflections on life cycles. She explores the landscape from a body engagement perspective where labour, mysticism, and temporality merge. She is currently a peer residency coordinator for the Alberta University of the Arts Student Association, Hear/d Art Residency; and serves on the board of directors for SEITIES Magazine. Graham’s work has been acquired by the AFA art collection, Saks Fifth Ave and the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Her writing musings include Luma Quarterly and Chrysalis zine magazine.
Viviana Pacheco was born in Guatemala and grew up in Northern Manitoba. She is a self-taught artist, who loves art history. She is greatly influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Alphonse Mucha. She paints in acrylic, on canvas or any flat surface substrate. Her artwork is expressionistic, impressionistic, with painterly elements mixed with graphic lines. Viviana has been working recently on pieces where she uses metallic backgrounds and vivid bold brush work. Her artwork has been featured in two separate International Women's Day campaigns and she will be representing the IGNITE! Arts Festival. She has collections on display at the VCA locations, and many private collections across Canada and the USA.
Yuli Carvajal is a multidisciplinary artist born in Cucuta, Colombia, and based in Calgary. She has been experimenting with different artistic techniques such as fire, rocks, and recycling materials since she was very young. She is a mining engineering with a passion for art which made her a self-taught artist. Her artistic practice reflects and expresses her emotions and applies his engineering skills to art. In her drawings, paintings, and sculptures she uses a wide palette of irreverent colours and shapes. She enjoys creating her own tools and techniques, turning her intention into poetry. Her artworks leave a message, a criticism, and connect with life and nature.
Wilmer Aburto is a Calgary-based photographer born in Nicaragua who employs social advocacy and inclusivity in his art practice. He has collaborated with youth, seniors, Canadian newcomers, individuals with disabilities and mental health barriers, Veterans and BIMPOC LGBTQ+ communities. He is the recipient of the Immigrants Services Calgary Arts & Culture Award - presented to a Canadian newcomer who has achieved success in an artistic endeavor within the visual, media or performing arts fields
(between the Hub and admin offices of ATP and Theatre Calgary)